Overlooking the Basento Valley and along the ancient tract
of the old Appian Way, is where one will come across Tricarico,
a fundamental meta among the art cities of Basilicata.
The name Trigarium signifies a horse station and maybe remembers
the role of the place along the tract of the ancient Appian
Way. Another hypothesis, instead, claims its origins to be
from the Greek term treis ed akris, meaning the city of the
It was definitely an active centre beginning in the VI century
BC as demonstrated by finds discovered in the Cappuccini district.
However, in antiquity, the main centres were situated a few
kilometres from Tricarico, where now one can visit the archaeological
sites of Tempa dell'Altare, Cancello, Calle and Civita.
The destruction of these ancient inhabited centres probably
gave impulse to the birth of Tricarico during the Medieval
In this way it firstly became a Byzantine stronghold and later
belonged to the Longobards who eventually surrendered it to
During the X century, it was retaken by the Byzantines and
became an Episcopal seat (962) of Greek rites. The following
century it was conquered by the Normans (1048) and enjoyed
a period of splendour after its raised status change it to
There were various noble families who owned it over the centuries:
Berardino, Pignatelli, Ferraro, Sanseverino, Sforza and Revertera
The centre, which was very active culturally and was the homeland
of jurists and scholars, participated in both the Republican
motions during 1799 and Carbonari ones during 1820-21. It
was also an active centre during the years of Unification
and the birth of the Reign of Italy (1861).
The poet Rocco Scotellaro was born in Tricarico (1923-1953)
and was the author of popular lyrics (of poetry) and of numerous
publications regarding the Southern situation.
A visit to the City
Tricarico already unveils its long and complex history through
its city plan. The Arabic districts with narrow interlaced
labyrinth type lanes which alternate with the more regular
Norman districts. There are numerous nobiliary buildings and
esteemed churches in the historical centre: the Gothic S.
Francesco, the Medieval S. Chiara, the ancient S. Antonio
Abate (Abbot) (1123), the Carmine Church (XV century):
The Cathedral, built on the wishes of Robert Guiscard during
1061, is dedicated to S. Maria Assunta and guards a triptych
by Girolamo Santacroce (XV century) in its interior.
Only the Norman Tower remains from the ancient castle, which
ideally converses with its homologous structure in Tricarico,
namely the Arabic Tower.
Not too far from the village one will come across the Maria
Santissima of Fonti Sanctuary. There is a pilgrimage here
on the last Sunday of May.
Place of interest
The Norman Castle (IX-X century); Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral
(1061); San Francesco Convent (XIII century); Sant'Antonio
Church and Convent (1479); Maria Santissima di Fonti Sanctuary;
Santa Chiara Church and Convent (1322); S. Antonio Abate Church
(1123); Madonna del Carmine Church; Civita Archaeological
Site in Tricarico; Arabic District of “Rabatana”;
Ladislao Arch (XVI century); Palazzo Vescovile; Palazzo Ducale;
Palazzo Aragiusto; Palazzo Putignani; Palazzo Cristallo; Palazzo
Pignatelli; Palazzo Griptoleo; Palazzo Carafa; Remains of
the Roman Villa in the Calle locality; Remains of the Wall
and Tomb in the Tempa dell'Altare locality.
Feast of San Potito on 14th January; San Giuseppe bonfire
on 19th March; Feast of San Pancrazio on 12th May; Pilgrimage
to the Madonna of Fonti Sanctuary on the last Sunday in May;
Feast of Sant'Antonio on 13th June; Feast of the Madonna del
Carmine on 16th July; Feast of the Madonna della Pace on 2nd
and 3rd September.